Monday, June 5, 2017

We Visited Foz do Iguacu and Iguassu Waterfalls from 27 to 29 April 2017

Panaromic view of Iguassu waterfall at Devils Troat
After a two hour flight from Rio we landed in Foz do Iguacu a small touristy town mainly catering to tourists visiting the famous Iguassu Falls. The city is a melting pot of many nationalities that come to visit the waterfalls. Foz is a fairly laid back city with a large number of restaurants catering to the diverse gourmet requirements of the tourists. Chinese, Italian, Spanish, Pizza, Tapas compete with the local delicacies. The city is very well spread out with broad roads, elegant footpaths and avenues. The weather is very moderate and comfortable. Shorts and a light cotton shirt fit the bill. Street cafes are a very popular form of dining. They provide every variety of food, beer and free wifi. We thoroughly enjoyed sitting in the open and enjoying the atmosphere. Unless you decide to visit a pub or disco restaurant, the town shuts down fairly early. Our hotelAguas do Iguacu Hotel Centro’ was located right in the middle of the action area. The hotel travel desk staff goes out their way to help with all tours and visits. Planning your activity, hiring taxis, buying entrance tickets are all done from the hotel. Various aspects of the visits are well coordinated and meshed together in a seamless fashion.

Foz do Iguacu has the distinction of bordering Argentina to the South and Paraguay to the West. With such a broad mixture of various cultures, it’s not hard to find a variety of artifacts being sold in the roadside kiosks. Earrings, bracelets, necklaces and other forms of junk jewelry are aplenty. We relished the sweet thick purple juice made from the Açaí berry, an energy drink. The Açaí Juice is a very popular drink of Brazil. 

In the afternoon we visited Bosque Guarani Zoo which is a refuge and sanctuary for many bird species, including macaws, golden parakeets, harpy eagles and toucans. Displays also include other animal life such as reptiles, snakes and tarantulas. It also carries out valuable research into the Iguazú forest environment and has a breeding program for endangered species. The idea is to rescue, recover and reintroduce specimens that get to this place because they were victims of an accident, confiscated or delivered by regretful owners. An afternoon well spent.
Place for the monkeys to play

Harpy Eagle

Elusive Black Panther

Capybera freely roam about outside the park - the largest rodent in the world 

Next morning we visited the largest bird park Parque das Aves in all of Latin America spread over 40 acres of sub-tropical rain forest. This park provides shelter for around a thousand birds (150 species) as well as butterflies and reptiles from both all South America and other exotic places. What is different about this park when compared to other zoos or similar parks is that the most of the cages are huge and the birds and animals can roam and fly free. Also, it's possible to enter those enclosures and admire all the beauty of the exotic colorful birds: a wide variety of parrots, toucans, eagles, owls and others. It's a perfect place for photography as there's no fence between the camera and the object so the photos look as if they were taken in their natural environment. The toucans even seem to pose for photographs.

Cariama Cristata

Wild Fowl

Red crane perched on a tree

Budgies - Yellow Parrot

Blue and Yellow Macaw

Blue and Yellow Macaw with Eclectus

Cariama Cristata appreciating herself in the mirror

Budgies - Yellow Parrot

Great Egrets and Cranes
As recommended by our hotel travel guide we took a bus across to the water falls around noon time. As we alighted from the bus the wonder of the world ’Iguassu waterfalls’ was there right in front of us. The initial reaction was one of disappointment and a slight feeling of being let down when we saw one waterfall in the distance. The sadness was evident on all our faces. Soon we realized that it was just the beginning of 275 different falls which extend to 2.7 Km in length, ending up at the famous and spectacular ‘Devils Throat’. Their height varies between 200 feet and 269 feet. A large proportion of the water is thrust down Devil’s Throat, a long chasm that is 82 metres high, 150 metres wide and 700 metres long. We had seen the Niagara and Victoria Falls earlier and had been overawed by them. It was now our turn to enjoy Iguassu. As one treks along the 2.7 Km narrow pathway which runs parallel to the deep gorge, the beauty and the enormity of the waterfalls begin to unfold. This phenomenal spectacle seems never-ending as rivers Iguassu and Parana continuously empty themselves into the gorge. The visual treat is enhanced by the roar of the waterfalls and the cooling water spray. The trek is never ending and one needs to stop for a coffee break or a photo shoot to recoup.

The entrance to the National Park

At the entrance

The maiden view

As you progress down the track

Still Further

A Photo Op

Sushama engrossed

Yet another view

Prior to Devils throat
Each part of the waterfalls is different, giving an impression that we are watching a different waterfall each time. The intensity and the dynamics of each waterfall is distinctive making Iguassu very unique and unforgettable. At ’Devils Throat’ you stand face to face with the most powerful manifestation of nature. Experiencing the power of water at such close quarters will remain with us for a very long time. The ringside view is breathtaking. The Devil’s Throat is also the border between Argentina and Brazil, splitting the falls between the two countries.

The trek gradually takes you to the bottom of the gorge where they have built a viewing platform in the middle of Devil’s Throat. The best part is the lift which takes the tourists back to the top.

Totally drenched

Devils Throat

As it flows
Thereafter we took a 6 Km speed boat ride in the river. The last part of the boat ride takes you directly into the ‘Three Musketeers’ water fall. As the boat enters the waterfall, an enormous amount of water from a height falls on the boat completely drenching one and all. This experience was something new and totally exhilarating. The water fall is so thick and intense it becomes difficult to breathe through the nose. Screams and shrieking from the boat is deafening and addictive. As one recovers from the episode the boat re-enters the fall for the second and third time. The boat ride was an amazing unforgettable experience.
The entire Iguassu forest area is well maintained by the authorities. The drive to the waterfall, the facilities, restaurants, toilets, roads are in excellent condition. On the whole the visit was exhilarating and great value for money.

After the ride

All wet and thrilled

Very well crafted artifacts at the shop on top

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